Published On: Tue, Jan 6th, 2015

APC: Alake, Lai Mohammed, Semeritari At War Over Presidential Campaign Loot

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The cold war among some major characters in the All
Progressives Congress, APC campaign team is
gradually degenerating into a full blown conflict
following the inability of Party big-wigs to resolve
the clash of interests playing out among, Dele Alake,
former Lagos State Commissioner of Information,
Alhaji Lai Mohammed APC spokesman and Ibim
Semeritari, Rivers State Commissioner for
Information.
Investigation reveals that at the centre of the ragging
conflict is the multi billion naira Presidential
campaign war chest believed to have been brought
on the table by Rivers State Governor, Hon. Rotimi
Amaechi who also doubles as the Director General of
the Buhari/Osinbajo Presidential campaign team.
The seed of discord was planted when upon his
appointment as DG of the APC campaign train, Gov.
Amaechi insisted on bringing his Commissioner of
Information, Mrs. Semeritari into the matrix, a move
which was perceived by Alake, the officially appointed
Director of Media as a direct usurpation of his job
description.
On his part, Alhaji Mohammed, APC Head of publicity
is irked by the fact that Alake by his appointment was
made to report directly to the DG of the campaign
without recourse to his office especially as it pertains
to sensitive public communication issues like press
releases which Alhaji Mohammed insists he is in a
better position to handle.
Conversely, while the duo of Mohamed and Alake
bicker, Gov. Ameachi is entrenched in his choice of
Mrs. Semeritari as the custodian of the media budget.
According to a source in the information
commissioner’s ministry, “His excellency has full
confidence in madam (Ibim Semeritari). She has been
with him through thick and thin from the very
beginning. She has been involved in his media
activities and the funding has always been passed
through her budget. She accounts for every kobo with
loyalty and devotion. Moreover, if his Excellency is
ever held to account for his lavish media budget, it is
only madam that can provide the answers.”
Mrs. Semeritari is said to be particularly suspicious
of Alake’s massive cash requisitions which she feels
will end up siphoned for personal use.
Mohammed on the other hand is more particular
about not allowing Alake erode his tight noose
control over APC media expenditure.
Mohammed the former PRO of the then Nigeria Airport
Authority now FAAN is insistent on Alake and
Semeritari reporting to him directly thus giving him
the latitude to handle an elephant chunk of the media
budget.
He is said to be uncomfortable with passing his
financial requisition through Mrs. Semeritari whom
he considers a “small girl.”
While on the other hand he believes that Alake is
coming into the job with a baggage.
Party insiders however believe that Alhaji Mohammed
wish may as well be a tall dream as Gov. Amaechi
has become introspective since the loss of the Vice
Presidential slot with Mrs. Semeritari emerging as his
closest confidant and strategist.
Observers say that Amaechi and Semeritari have an
idea of the media practitioners and journalists they
want to work with in furtherance of their future
aspirations which the duo of Mohammed and Alake
are extraneous to.
The Rivers State Governor is believed to have shelled
out a princely sum of N19 billion to prosecute his VP
slot ambition. The amount excludes the $3,000
dollars reportedly spent on each of the 3500
delegates (total of $10.5m or N1.9billion) that
ensured the emergence of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari
as the Presidential candidate of the party.
‘’Don’t forget that this is politics and during the
campaign for vice presidential slot, Amaechi received
some raw deal from a section of the media with Alake
and Mohammed as drivers of that anti-Amaechi
campaign. So now he wants to work with his own
people’’.
‘’The several interventions by Bola Tinubu and the
promise of making Amaechi minister of petroleum
have not changed his new attitude.’’

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